We hear a lot from climate change alarmists these days. In fact, it seems every day someone is on the news talking about this topic, even warning that humans could become extinct within 12 years if we don’t deal with climate change.
Well, I admit it. I am also a climate change alarmist, and I do believe humans have caused climate change. But 'climate alarmism' should be properly understood. Yes, it’s true, we need to warn people about the coming catastrophic climate changes that will affect all of humanity. We need to proclaim this from the rooftops. It’s an urgent message. In fact, the Bible prophetically refers to its coming:
The heavens and the earth . . . are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. . . . The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:7, 10, NKJV)
Now that’s the ultimate catastrophic climate change everyone should be aware of, when one day in the future, Jesus will return and the earth (and whole universe) will be judged with fire and God will make a new heavens and earth: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
It’s important to understand that humans are the cause of this coming catastrophic climate change. Because of our sin in Adam, we recognize that the whole creation is now groaning, awaiting this massive change.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:20–22)
But even though the creation is groaning because of our sin (think of earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, floods, death, and disease), God gave us a promise about 4,300 years ago after the flood: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
A similar promise was given by the prophet Jeremiah over 2,500 years ago:
Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken. . . . If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth. (Jeremiah 33:20–21, 25)
Even though we live in such a groaning world, God gave humans dominion over the environment, not the environment over humans.
So we can boldly proclaim that humans aren’t going to destroy themselves or destroy the earth because God is in complete control and he will determine when the ultimate catastrophic climate change will occur. And we can understand and believe in climate alarmism in a biblical context.
In the meantime, it’s important to understand that we do live in a world where sin, the curse, the flood, and the ice age (which was generated by the flood) have all contributed to climate changes that have been going on during the past 6,000 years of earth’s history. It’s also important to understand that even though we live in such a groaning world, God gave humans dominion over the environment, not the environment dominion over humans.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
As Christians, we need to have a biblically based worldview regarding environmental issues. To have this worldview, we must understand our role as having dominion over creation as it and we suffer the effects of sin, the curse, and past catastrophic events (such as the flood of Noah’s day). The bottom line is that we are to live in this world and use what God has entrusted to us for humanity’s good (doing our best not to abuse it) and God’s glory.
And remember, humans are finite. Based on our limited understanding, we might not know many factors, which can lead us to interpret past and future things incorrectly. That’s why we must ensure that we have the right foundation for our worldview, the foundation of the revelation of one who knows all things—the foundation of the authority of the Word of God.
We will never sort out all the claims about climate change until we all agree to begin with the right foundation—the Word of the infinite Creator God.